Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Pinch Ten" Math Game

Here's a little game for estimating  more than/less than,  and working with addends of ten. It is designed for use with kindergarten children. It can be adapted for older children by just increasing the number of beans you use.

Pinch a Ten

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here's another Number Concept/Estimation activity for you. 

Size of group:  Whole Group How Many Feet Are in Our Room

Number Concepts: How Many Pockets Am I Wearing Today?

How Many Pockets Do I Have

How Many Reds? Addends Game from Marilyn Burns' book

Better late than never....Here you are, fellow bloggers - a numbers concept game:

This game comes from Marilyn Burns' book, About Teaching Mathematics, a book we used in a district-sponsored math workshop that I took this summer.  The workshop was very enlightening and dovetails very nicely with Debbie Diller's book I am reading for the book party. 

How Many Reds Addends Game

Castles and Crayons - New Blog and Giveaway

Kelli, over at Castles and Crayons is celebrating being a new blogger and having so many new followers, almost overnight!  Why don't you swing on over there and take a look at her cute-as-a-button blog, and become a follower?!

Castles and Crayons

Kinder Kraziness is having a giveaway!

Do you start your year with Miss Bindergarten?  If so, you need to run right over to Laura Starnes' blog, Kinder Kraziness to check out how to get her freebie Miss Bindergarten unit!  She has a lot of great ideas on her blog!< /a>

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Okay, here's another little packet to go with Number Concepts

Here's a little packet of monkey five frames and dot cards to use during the first couple months of kindergarten to help students "own" the numbers 0-5.

Monkey Five Frames & Dot Cards

If you download this packet and like it, would you consider leaving me a comment?  And please spread the word about my blog!


I'm a little slow getting going with documents to share....

I am new to "teacher blogging", so I feel a bit guilty downloading all the fantastic ideas all of my fellow bloggers have shared and not giving anything in return!  I feel like I have so much to learn, not only about blogging, but about teaching kindergarten in general!  But here is one little freebie for you.  This goes along with Debbie Diller's book about Math Stations.  These are number identification cards for the game, "I Have...Who Has...".  Since I usually start my year doing Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, I have been working on some games with monkeys, palm trees, etc.  I'll post more as I complete them.

Thanks again to all of you who've been so generous with your ideas and resources!


I Have...Who Has...Monkey Numbers

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Summertime Miracle

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Every spring in my classroom, the children observe caterpillars metamorph into butterflies.  Usually I purchase the larva from a science vendor.  The first time I personally observed this metamorphosis was with my kindergarten children three years ago.  Each year is just as exciting to me as the previous year's experience.  So you can only imagine how thrilled I was last week when I went out to water my container garden and noticed not one, not two, not three, but NINE beautiful caterpillars on my very de-leafed plant.  (I thought I killed my plant from not watering it, but upon closer inspection, saw all these caterpillars!
This slideshow is not complete.  At the time of this posting, I am down to three chrysalids and one caterpillar.  A cardinal had a yummy meal of three of the nine before I realized I had to move the plant inside the screened patio.  I think a lizard has eaten two more.  There's one lone caterpillar that appears to be unwell.  I am not holding out hope for it.  :-(  But, if I saved three out of nine, then I'm happy with that.  If I hadn't done anything, that cardinal would've had a feast of nine, I'm sure.  ...In the meantime, I will continue to photograph this little miracle and maybe, just maybe, I'll catch the emergence of one of the butterflies!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chapter 3 Math Stations

I have just completed a week-long math training with Math Solutions, (sponsored by our district), so I am feeling a bit of "disequilibrium" right now.  I am trying to put together what I have read in Debbie Diller's book with what I learned in that  training.  The book we used for that training is About Teaching Mathematics, A K-8 Resource by Marilyn Burns.  So, I hope you will understand if I refer to both books in my answers, as it will really help me to assimilate all the new learning I have gotten in the past two weeks!  It's the only way for me to tackle feeling overwhelmed!!!

  1. What should your math work stations, look like, sound like and feel like?
In my opinion, from both sources (Diller and Burns), a math station ("Menu") is where:
  • a couple students (2, preferably) work together
  • students practice a math skill that has previously been taught and practiced about 6-8 times in whole group or small group sessions before being a station
  • stations include 2-3 activities to complete addressing the same skill
  • students work cooperatively
  • students could be recording their learning
  • on task, using "inside" voices
  • problem solving
  • sharing what the students learned at the end (five minutes)
2.  What does your management board look like?
I have tried a couple ways that have not been as user-friendly or successful as I'd like.  (Sorry, no pictures.  I started this book party after school had let out for the summer.)  The main management system I used was a pocket chart with pictures of the stations across the top and the students' names velcroed on a strip below each station.  I usually had five centers (which is what I called them last year), with 3-4 students grouped heterogeneously in each center.  When it was time to rotate, I'd go to the pocket chart and move the top pictues of the center.  Then I'd have to repeat for each student which center they were to go to.  It was, at best, confusing to all but the very top students in the class.  It would've worked better if I had:
  • used students' photos instead of names
  • didn't expect to get to five centers in one day
  • made it so I didn't have to move cards around between every center
  • made the chart so that the students names had the photos of the centers next to their name that they would go to for that day only
3.  How do you support math vocabulary (math talk cards) in your stations? 
I didn't.....but I certainly will this year!  I introduced the vocabulary and used it with the students, but wasn't good about reinforcing their use of it.  Next year I will develop the Math Talk cards with the students.
  • Teach the mathematical concepts that the vocabulary word describes prior to introducing the vocabulary (Marilyn Burns' book, p. 43)
  • Focus on both vocabulary content words as well as process words
  • Systematic instruction: (From Marilyn Burns' book)
    • Identify the vocabulary to be taught.
    • Introduce vocabulary after developing understanding of the related mathematical ideas.
    • Explain the vocabulary by connecting its meaning to the students' learning experiences.
    • Have the students pronounce the words.
    • Write the new vocabulary on a class " Math Words" chart
    • Have students keep their own list of math words.
    • Use the vocabulary repeatedly.
    • Encourage the students to use the vocabulary in discussions, stations, and on assignments.
Burns' book emphasized that "knowledge of mathematical vocabulary is neither the end goal of mathematics instruction nor the primary indicator of students' mathematical success."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I need your help!

Okay, so this doesn't have to do with teaching, but I still am hoping you might help me.  I am an amateur photographer, and have just entered a National Geographic Photo Contest.  (I entered in the same vein you enter the Lottery - If you don't enter, you can't win! LOL) Anyway, the way you win is with votes - LIKEs. 

So, if you could help this photographer wannabe with a vote and with passing this on to a friend or two, I'd be very grateful!  Just click on the photo to go to the link to "LIKE" my photo.  (I do hope you like it!)  It is a photo of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, the inspiration for Cinderella's Castle at Disneyland/Disney World.  I visited there last Christmas with my daughter and son-in-law who's station at Ramstein AFB in Germany.

Little Literacy Learners is having a giveaway. She also has a great resource for making "circular" games! You should go on over and visit her!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I just wanted to share a great new "packet" that Kinderworks has as a contest giveaway...I know I'd love to win it!

KindergartenWorks Raffle Ticket

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Totally Unrelated to Math...

.....unless you are talking about weight. At the store yesterday, I saw a tabloid magazine that had a cover photo of Angelina Jolie with headlines about her weight of 99 pounds and about heroin use. I don't know that I trust anything the tabloids print, but it reminded me of a photo I received recently from my daughter in Germany. My daughter works for the USO Wounded Warrior Center in Landstuhl. One day in May they had a last minute notice that Angelina Jolie was coming for a visit with the Wounded Warriors. My daughter said Angelina was very nice....and VERY tiny. You be the judge:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hello Fellow Bloggers!

Amanda, over at Third Grade Meanderings is having a Giveaway! Why don't you click on over there and take a look at her blog! Click on the name below.
I decided to make some math stations tonight with an alphabet I purchased. Debbie Diller says in her book that she labels her math labels with numbers because it is MATH. So, that's what I did. I may change them later and add a picture to them once I decide on next year's theme. But for now, here they are if you want them. These were designed to be printed on Avery Shipping Labels.

Book Study - Chapters 1 and 2

Sorry, I am just posting my answers to the first two chapters today. I've been under the weather the past two days. I must've been really wiped out this year because I spent the first week and a half after school got out hardly getting out of my pajamas, and just when I started feeling like I had some energy to do ANYTHING (other than watch the Casey Anthony murder trial on TV every single doggone day...For what? Morbid curiosity? The fact that this happened 40 minutes away from where I live?), I get sick.

But I did read the first two chapters and found them very informative, easy to read, and full of good suggestions.

1. Materials used by the teacher first, then placed in the station: This happened about 50 percent of the time. But first, I must say that I have always had math centers, not stations. So stations are going to be new for me this year. If I read the chapter correctly, Debbie Diller says you should never do a lesson and then put it in a station the same day. (Did I read that correctly?!) I am afraid I often did this. Oops!

2. Materials do not change weekly, rather changed to reflect the students' learning objectives: With our new math program, the learning objectives didn't change in a nice, orderly, weekly fashion, so the math materials in my centers changed as the objective changed, whatever day that happened to fall on.

3. All students go to stations daily: No, some days we just had whole group instruction and didn't make it to the centers at all.

4. Materials are differentiated: Sometimes, but more often "not" than "yes".

5. The teacher observes work or meets with differentiated math groups: There were many days that all I did was have the children work in small groups at centers , all doing the same thing while I did individualized testing. As a matter of fact, the whole kindergarten team said we feel we had very little time this year to teach because we spent all our time testing - tests that had to be done 1:1. The kids didn't mind it because it meant uninterrupted time with me. But of course they didn't realize how much teaching time they were being robbed of because I was testing. I will say that most of my differentiation seemed to come from the computer programs I had the children working on when they went to that "center". The programs individualized.

Something I realized in reading the first two chapters is how many manipulatives I NEED to get for next year. I also loved Debbie's suggestions for starting with Exploration Stations, one material at first, then slowly adding as you notice the children have started tiring of them.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

This was my lovely, lovely class this year. School ended for us on May 23rd. I imagine that many of them are really at the beach, although this photo was a Photoshop compilation that I put on a t-shirt for each child for the last day of school. I will really miss these 'guys'!

New to Classroom Blogging

Ah, finally. Finally I have figured out how to design my own blog, and have finally gotten started! Although I'm not new to blogging, I am finally returning to it in the educational setting. I've had a personal blog for awhile, a class webpage, and years ago a class blog when I taught fifth grade. I haven't had an educational blog since moving to kindergarten, and this year, I've really seen the value in classroom blogs and RSS feeds thanks to all of you wonderful blogging teachers out there! What a timesaver they are in finding inspiration for our own classrooms! And for teachers, we need all the timesavers we can find!

I've designed my kindergarten blog just in time (although it's definitely going to be a work-in-progress), because I want to participate in the Debbie Diller book study! You can find out more about it here:

I just received my book in the mail today, so in a few minutes I'm headed up to bed to start reading! I will post my answers to the questions in the morning. Until then, THANK YOU to all of you whose blogs I've followed all year and for the inspiration they've provided to my teammates and me! It may be summertime, but I am sooo ready for this book study!